Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Body of Gurkha soldier back in UK

Rifleman Yubraj Rai
Rifleman Rai joined the Army in 1999, following in his uncle's footsteps

The body of a Kent-based Gurkha soldier has been flown back to Britain following his death in Afghanistan.

Rifleman Yubraj Rai, from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, based in Folkestone, was killed by enemy fire on 4 November.

The 28-year-old, from Khotang district in eastern Nepal, was the first Nepalese Gurkha to die in the conflict.

He was killed in the Musa Qala area of Helmand province. No date has yet been been set for his funeral.

He epitomised all that makes the Gurkhas great - the best
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Darby

The MoD said Rifleman Rai was taking part in a joint International Security Assistance Force and Afghan National Security Forces operation when his patrol came under attack.

He received medical treatment at the scene, but died a short time later from his wounds.

His death brought the number of UK troops killed on operations in Afghanistan since 2001 to 122.

The body of Rifleman Rai was brought back to RAF Lyneham with full military honours.

The coffin of Rifleman Yubraj Rai [pic: MoD]
The body of Rifleman Yubraj Rai was brought back to RAF Lyneham

He had served in Iraq, Sierra Leone and Bosnia, and on a previous tour in Afghanistan.

He was described as "an avid sportsman who enjoyed all competition", but his number one passion was football and in particular, Manchester United.

Following his death last week, his commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Chris Darby said: "Yubraj Rai was an extraordinary character and a hard professional soldier with a proven operational record.

"Big, strong and highly experienced, Rfn Yubraj was one of the cornerstones of his Company and he was known throughout the battalion for his presence, drive and his ability as a soldier.

"He died doing what he did best, amongst his greatest friends and admirers and for a cause he had taken the time to understand.

"He epitomised all that makes the Gurkhas great - the best."

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SEE ALSO
First Gurkha dies in Afghanistan
06 Nov 08 |  Special Reports

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